News / Africa

In South Sudan, Few Take their Money to the Bank

Faridah Hussein (No. 17 T-shirt on right) carries bananas into a market in Juba. The 33-year-old mother of three doesn't put the 15-20 South Sudanese pounds she makes a day by selling the bananas in a bank because she thinks she earns too little to open an account.
Faridah Hussein (No. 17 T-shirt on right) carries bananas into a market in Juba. The 33-year-old mother of three doesn't put the 15-20 South Sudanese pounds she makes a day by selling the bananas in a bank because she thinks she earns too little to open an account.
Mugume Davis Rwakaringi

Faridah Hussein is one of many people in South Sudan who are wary of banks, don't understand how banks work, or think they don't have enough money to warrant opening an account. 

So, the 33-year-old single mother of three gives the 15 to 20 pounds she makes every day, selling bananas in a market in Juba, to her sister, who lives in a suburb of capital. 

Hussein says she doesn't want to keep her money at her own home, but also thinks she makes too little to open a bank account. Besides, she says, she doesn't understand how to open a bank account. 

Hers is not an isolated case. Other South Sudanese stuff the money they make under the ceiling rafters in their house, in pots in the kitchen, or even in holes they've dug in the ground.

Not surprisingly, none of these is the best savings plan, and sometimes, when a person returns to their "bank" to make a withdrawal, they find their money is no longer where they left it. 

And yet, they refuse to open a bank account. 

'Merry-go-round' system of banking

Florence Gordon, the Finance Director at South Sudan Women Entrepreneurs, an NGO that gives guidance and teaches business skills to women in Central Equatoria state, says that's because Faridah and others like her don't understand how banking works. 

"They think that putting this money in a bank will take time and involve a long process," she says.

So, instead, they use "... a merry-go-round system of banking. Next week, they give their money to somebody, the other week, it will be given to somebody else -- not put in a bank because they don't know the benefits of a bank," Gordon says.

A woman fishmonger who is a member of South Sudan Women Entrepreneurs lost 15,000 pounds because she kept it at home, Gordon says.

“I understand it happened in December," when the conflict that still has South Sudan in its grip began in Juba, Gordon says. 

"Most of her money was taken by -- she doesn’t know whether it was soldiers or who, but people came and took all her money," Gordon says. 

The theft led the woman to realize that, "if she had put her money in the bank she wouldn’t have lost her money,” Gordon says.

She is reportedly considering opening an account, but has not done so yet. 

Some explaining to do

Mou Ambrose Thiik, a World Bank consultant who also sits on the board of governors of  the Kenya Commercial Bank group, says people who stash their money in a pot or under the rafters are not just putting their finances in danger, but are also harming the national economy.

"If we don’t have savings in the banks, there will be no investment done," he says, urging banks to educate people in South Sudan as to how the banking system works. 

Banks lend part of their clients' savings to businesses and other  individuals who use the loan to purchase goods and services, or invest it. The borrowers pay back the loan with interest, and the bank that originally loaned them the money pays the client interest on their savings but at a lower rate than the interest paid on the loan. Meanwhile, the money spent by the borrowers to buy goods and services also goes into another bank, and the cycle continues -- unless, of course, they're buying from someone who prefers to put their earnings under the ceiling rafters. 

 

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Loang Paul from: kakuma kenya
September 01, 2014 2:36 AM
Faridah she is right to keep her money in ceiling because people who are working in the bank they are not be leaved by the people of South Sudan I have a friend of mine who open his account in 2012 when he want to withdrawn his money he missed some of his money from his account.
Even President Kiir he has no account he is using ceiling because he his a corrupt President.


by: Paulo Lemos from: Brasil
August 29, 2014 9:25 PM
Not just in South Sudan as in many others parts of the world the people need be educated to live like a civilization. Those governments have not invested in its education! This is the real issue in Africa, South America, Middle East and some countries in Asia

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid